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This year, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) welcomed 240 organizations as partners into the Better Buildings Alliance, Better Plants, Better Communities Alliance, and Better Buildings Accelerators—collaborative efforts designed to help public sector organizations and private sector companies to save money and improve energy efficiency. Today, DOE is releasing new tools and resources developed in collaboration with Accelerator partners and announcing important results from its technology campaigns. Part of the Better Buildings Initiative, these efforts target specific barriers to energy efficiency and encourage the discovery and demonstration of innovative technologies and best practices for saving energy.
"Better Buildings Initiative partners prove that energy efficiency is an affordable and smart investment made to spur economic opportunity in American communities." said Kathleen Hogan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, U.S. Department of Energy. "The impact is tremendous and means dollars previously spent on energy bills can be used to create new jobs, train the workforce, and improve the everyday places where Americans live their lives."
New partners across the Initiative bring fresh perspectives and insights. For example, 14 new partners joined the Better Plants Program, setting ambitious energy saving goals across their manufacturing operations. This year, much of the growth in Better Plants came through innovative partnerships to enroll key suppliers in the program. In addition to this new growth, one existing partner, Bradken, an engineering and metals company, met its 25% energy-savings target this year.
The Better Communities Alliance attracts leading local partners for collaboration with philanthropists and nonprofits to bring energy efficiency, renewable energy, and transportation benefits to cities and counties nationwide.
Through the Better Buildings Alliance, partners and technology experts work with DOE to identify, prioritize, and verify the performance of high impact technologies, enabling significant, cost-effective energy savings in a single building or portfolio of buildings. To date, the Advanced Rooftop Unit Campaign, Lighting Energy Efficiency in Parking campaign, Interior Lighting Campaign, Smart Energy Analytics Campaign (SEA Campaign), and Wireless Sub-Metering Challenge have engaged over 200 public organizations and private companies employing high impact technologies to save over $105 million in energy costs.
- Five partners are recognized through the SEA Campaign for excellence and leadership in their use of energy management and information systems to reduce energy costs and improve building performance. These partners are Emory University; Salt Lake City, Utah; MGM Resorts International; Sprint in collaboration with CBRE; and the University of California—Davis.
- Through the Wireless Sub-Metering Challenge, Meazon is recognized for producing a meter that conforms to the specifications set out in the Challenge for a cost-effective wireless sub-meter. Low-cost wireless meters help make the business case for building owners, managers, and tenants to measure and manage energy use at a more granular level.
In addition to technology-based approaches, Better Buildings Alliance partners and market leaders have identified energy-aligned leasing as an opportunity to save as much 20% on the costs to power a tenant-occupied space. This year, eight partners are recognized as Green Lease Leaders for excellence in leasing practices that encourage energy and water use reduction.
Partners also worked with DOE to develop cost-effective approaches to scale up, within utility service territories and manufacturing enterprises, strategic energy management approaches, which include the ISO 50001 energy management standards and DOE's related Superior Energy Performance (SEP) program. Through the Better Buildings Industrial SEP Accelerator, three utility programs promoted strategic energy management to their industrial customers while four manufacturers collectively certified 30 plants to SEP—recording savings between 5% and 30% at those facilities. These efforts informed the development of new tools and case studies that will help facilities across sectors implement robust energy management systems consistent with ISO 50001.
Also now available for public sector organizations such as cities, states, and school districts are the Energy Savings Performance Contracting (ESPC) and Outdoor Lighting Accelerator toolkits, a result of two partnerships through the Better Buildings Accelerators that were successfully ended in 2016. The ESPC Accelerator catalyzed over $2 billion in energy efficiency investments and worked with 25 partners to develop resources to streamline the ESPC process that are now available to all organizations through the toolkit. The Outdoor Lighting Accelerator partnered with organizations across the nation to overcome technical, financial and regulatory challenges to upgrading outdoor lighting, and it documented its solutions through helpful interactive tools and resources.
Through Better Buildings, DOE aims to make commercial, public, industrial, and residential buildings 20% more energy efficient over the next decade. This means saving hundreds of billions of dollars on energy bills, reducing emissions, and creating thousands of jobs. Better Buildings partners represent public and private sector organizations across the country, and are working together with DOE to share and replicate positive gains in energy efficiency. The Energy Department is currently pursuing strategies within four interrelated key areas. Read about how partners are increasingly working to catalyze change and investment in energy efficiency, and their proven solutions, in the Better Buildings Solution Center.